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THE NAMING OF CATS


catss 2

THE NAMING OF CATS, BY T.S. ELIOT

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all,there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo, or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey—
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter—
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkstrap, Quazo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum—
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover—
But the CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable, effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

T.S. Eliot was the inspiration and wrote the lyrics for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical CATS. It was based upon “OLD POSSUM’S BOOK OF PRACTICAL CATS”. Old Possum was the name Eliot used for himself in playing with his godchildren.

220px-BookOfPracticalCats

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8 comments on “THE NAMING OF CATS

  1. And what a brilliant bloke he was …

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  2. Human name: Marney.
    Actually use: Marney Dog.
    Name she enforces: Merrrooww!

    Actually, using the name she CHOOSES to respond to over & over & over for years to call her in for the night has resulted in a most wonderful interaction with the wild here in ALASKA:
    Sitting outside soaking up sun one Spring break up, a raven flew over my clearing.
    Floating a tight circumference checking for edibles, it saw me… …then circled a second time and uttered “merrrooww!” clearly to me.
    It had learned my language and chose to interact with me.
    Wonderful moment.

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    • Love it! Funny thing about ravens/crows—they really DO recognize us—our faces and our voices. I have written about our crow visitor, Henry, who frequents our birdbath and washes his food leaving a very messy basin,.= Now and then he leaves me a trinket he has stolen from an unsuspecting garden as a thank you note. But he is a social lion, and often brings his pals for a dance party on my roof, causing Charlie no end of loud barking. I always try to play nice with him if I see him outside, so he won’t try to get even.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very wise.
        It is impossible to pull wool over a corvid eyes.
        Exception:
        (isn’t there always one?)
        …when capturing an injured one with a wool blanket.
        And that’s a hoot!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The crows here are a bit miffed now that our outside dog has passed on – no leftover dog food for them. Nevertheless, they still look fat and glossy when they drop by for water. I read your Nutcracker post and then went off to YouTube to check it out, watched a couple of clips (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Dance of the Rat King) I think I’ve seen it on tv once – or part of it.

    But Cats, at least I have seen that in real life! A wonderful, magical performance in Sydney in the 1980s. I was even moved enough to purchase the souvenir program which I’m usually too stingy to buy. So glad I did.

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